3. May 2011 13:54
The first dish I made while working for Angelo Cabani in his highly acclaimed Locanda Miranda restaurant was his special Ligurian-style fish soup. What a magical culinary experience – being taught by a great chef who opened his restaurant in the same year I was born…and I’m not so young. It is also a recipe which continues to touch my inner soul in surprising ways.
Angelo’s soup recipe I made that day is actually a variation on the famous Cacciucco alla Livornese, a Tuscan town about an hour south of my Ligurian base. The classic cacciucco is more a stew than a soup. It is filled with various types of seafood and fish and flavored with an intense fish broth, tomato concentrate, onions, garlic and a bay leaf. The traditional presentation also includes a large chunk of garlic bread at the bottom of the soup bowl, which soaks up the tasty juices.
I ate cacciucco during my first visit to Livorno last year in a modern restaurant located in the canal zone of the city. I was excited to finally taste the soup which defines Livornese cooking and reminded me so much of my working days with Angelo. But I was very surprised when the ‘soup’ arrived served on a large plate and piled over a mound of couscous.
Couscous…what was the connection?